by Stacy Bender
The early morning call caused me to pause before I answered. When I did, little time passed before I knew the truth: Grandma Lois did not wake up yesterday.
I have written about my grandmother and what she has taught me before today. Some of my earliest memories are of Grandma Lois – her little green house, watching soap operas with her during the heat of summer, how hard she worked on the farm growing up, how amazing her food was, and how much she loved me.
Gram was the kind of lady that everyone loved. From the pharmacy to the grocery store and anywhere in between, Lois was loved.
Some people are just easy to love.
As I reflected on this fact all day yesterday and then read today’s reading as we prepare for my husband’s sermon on the book of Mark on Sunday, one passage in chapter 12 explained to me why my grandmother had such a great connection with other people.
28 One of the teachers of the lawcame and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g]There is no commandment greater than these.”
32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
Two commandments – love God; love others.
My grandmother did both of these things with all of her heart, soul, mind and strength in every day of her life. Not a time went by – even at the end when her mind was not as clear – that my grandmother did not live this. She was not a saint; she had flaws; and I am sure that she had regrets.
But she was a person who loved God and loved others as much as anyone could.
As we go into a weekend where we honor her life, our family will reflect on these truths over and over again. To follow her example will be the greatest honor we could give to her. She would want us to follow her in faith in the God who gives us life and salvation through His son.